MIRI: Rural folk living along the Sarawak-Sabah interstate pipeline want the soil stability along the 600km project checked.
This follows a leak at a section of the giant pipeline near the Long Luping settlement located adjacent to the Sarawak-Sabah border on Wednesday.
A Bakelalan community elder, Anthony Laya, claimed this is the second time in four years that the pipeline had faced problems.
“There is a need to check the soil stability as well as the pipeline structure itself.
“We hope the state government will request that Petronas check the safety of the pipeline thoroughly without delay.
“After Long Luping, there are populated settlements of Long Semadoh and Long Sukang and then the Lawas hinterland where the pipes connect to the Baram side.
“All these are mountainous routes,” he told The Star when commenting on the leak along a section of the Sabah-Sarawak interstate gaspipe in the Bakelalan mountains.
National oil giant Petronas had confirmed that a leak had occurred along the pipeline at Long Luping on Wednesday at 1.45am but said it had been contained and there was no explosion as claimed by some villagers.
Sarawak Fire and Rescue Department said several sections of the pipeline and its valves had been shut off as a precautionary measure.
The department also released photos to show that their investigating team had arrived at the site of the incident.
“The Long Sukang section of the pipeline is also being checked,” the department said in a statement.
Petronas said an emergency response team had been mobilised to the site and that investigations are being carried out to determine how the leak occurred.
The pipeline is a RM4bil project to channel gas from Kimanis in Sabah to Bintulu in northern Sarawak for processing and export.
On June 11, 2014, an explosion occurred in the hills of Lawas district when a leak happened at a section of the pipeline.
No one was injured in that incident.
Progressive Democratic Party Bakelalan division chief Datuk Nelson Balang Rining said Long Luping villagers told him they heard a loud explosion.
“Some reportedly saw a big fire but Petronas said it was not a fire, but an eruption of the pipe.”
He said locals want to know if there was any gas leak that can impact their health.
Balang said he was told some villagers nearby could still smell gas in the air.
“I hope Petronas will send its staff to villages along the leaked section to explain the latest situation,” he said.
He urged Petronas to give them regular updates.